It would appear that Matt Gaetz, Florida's 1st District congressman and the state's largest boy, really wants to be on "Hannity" tonight.
Deputy assistant secretary of defense Laura Cooper was set to testify this morning on Trump’s shady dealings with Ukraine, but Gaetz — and more than two dozen other Republican wingnuts — decided to protest the closed impeachment hearings by storming the secure room of the Capitol building and documenting it all on their phones.
From the Daily Beast:
The standoff began shortly after a press conference in the morning, in which GOP members denounced what they called Democrats' "sham" impeachment process—a complaint that they’ve made central to their impeachment pushback.
According to Democratic lawmakers in the room, the Republicans blew past police officers to enter the room and began shouting once they got there, loudly denouncing the process and impeachment in general.
Close to two hours after they first went in, a core group of Republicans remained there, according to a tweet from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). The number two House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), was with them. Three hours into the standoff, the Republican crew remained—and they had ordered pizza from We The Pizza, a Capital Hill joint.
Not only were these particular Republicans not allowed in the area, but the act of bringing electronic devices into the House Intelligence Committee's Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) is also against the rules because it opens up the extremely private briefings to threats from foreign intelligence services, which is the definition of a national security threat.
I’m gathered here with dozens of my congressional colleagues underground in the basement of the Capitol.— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 23, 2019
If behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election, we want to know what’s going on. #StopTheSchiffShow pic.twitter.com/c9Ks9VneYt
Of course, despite video clearly showing members of the gaggle recording themselves while walking into the SCIF, it wasn’t until after others clarified that this was indeed a national security threat did these idiots start hastily footnoting that their tweets were from staff members outside of the room.
**Tweet from Staff**— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 23, 2019
Well, everyone except Rep. Andy Biggs, who actually tweeted three hours after this whole thing started that he’s still inside “Schiff’s secret chamber.”
Since Florida is always present at history's dumbest moments, a few of the Sunshine State’s finest were also part of this mass stupidity. Besides Congressman Gaetz, Rep. Ross Spano of Florida’s 15th District, and Rep. Michael Waltz of the 16th District could also be seen in the gaggle.
Update - We have stepped out of the House Intelligence Comm. meeting to vote. Unfortunately, Chairman Schiff immediately stopped the hearing & left with the witness upon our arrival. #StopTheSchiffShow pic.twitter.com/vKLHwb2Rkx— Former Congressman Ross Spano (@RepRossSpano) October 23, 2019
It's hard to imagine that this is anything more than a desperate Hail Mary to thwart the impeachment inquiry. Oddly, what today's disruption failed to mention was that there already are Republicans on the three panels conducting the impeachment investigation, so calling the proceedings "politically motivated" or "lacking in transparency" makes absolutely no sense. This is what due process looks like.
“It’s a bunch of Freedom Caucus members having pizza around a conference table pretending to be brave,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski to Politico. “All they basically did here was to storm a castle that they already occupied.”
Overall, despite the "storming," today's impeachment hearing was merely delayed.
UPDATE: Here's a list of everyone who RSVP'd to today's event, according to Gaetz's website:
Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Congressmen Jim Jordan, Mark Walker, Andy Biggs, Lee Zeldin, Mo Brooks, Mark Meadows, Kevin Hern, Paul Gosar, Steve Watkins, Debbie Lesko, Russ Fulcher, Buddy Carter, Steve King, Bill Johnson, Fred Keller, Brian Babin, Ken Buck, Michael Waltz, Ralph Norman, Louie Gohmert, Mark Green, Carol Miller, Vicky Hartzler, Alex Mooney, Jeff Duncan, Drew Ferguson, Gary Palmer, Jody Hice, Duncan Hunter, Ross Spano, Bradley Byrne, David Rouzer, Markwayne Mullin, Randy Weber, Pete Olson, Ron Wright, Scott Perry, Greg Murphy, and Ben Cline.